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‘Vote-bank politics main motive behind stopping VHP’s yatra’: Venkaiah Naidu

Hyderabad, Aug. 25 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday condemned the arrest of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ashok Singhal, and alleged that vote-bank politics is the main reason behind the Samajwadi Party (SP) Government’s move to stop the ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra’.

“The BJP strongly condemns the action of Uttar Pradesh Government in arresting Ashok Singhalji, in detaining the sadhus and sants from taking out the yatra. India is a free country. People have got every right to move around, to take out yatra. You can regulate the yatra. How can you stop it?” asked Naidu.

“It is all being done keeping in mind only vote-bank politics,” he added, while talking to media in Hyderabad.

VHP chief Ashok Singhal was earlier this morning detained at the Lucknow airport to prevent him from driving on to Ayodhya.

Clamping down on the proposed yatra, the Uttar Pradesh Government also arrested senior VHP leader Praveen Togadia earlier today after he defied prohibitory orders. Togadia was arrested from Gola ghat in Ayodhya.

Setting the stage for a confrontation with the Uttar Pradesh Government, the VHP inaugurated its ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra’ from Ayodhya today, amidst a massive crackdown launched by the administration, in which over 500 people have been arrested.

Ayodhya has been turned into a fortress to prevent any unwanted entry. Sources say that scores of VHP activists have been arrested from Chandauli, Faizabad, Sant Kabir Nagar and other places.

There is no public involvement in this Yatra as most of the people chose to remain indoors, especially in the Yatra affected six districts.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had earlier on Saturday dismissed a plea for allowing the ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra’, stating that there is a possibility of tension, and added that the restriction will be maintained.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has vowed to kick off its ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama’ around Ayodhya to revive its demand for a Ram temple.

The Samajwadi Party Government has banned the proposed Yatra, as a preemptive measure against communal flare-up, and put in place elaborate security arrangements by rushing in 10 companies of the Rapid Action Force and 12 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). (ANI)